TINSUKIA, March 24 � The �Grey-headed Bullfinch� (Pyrrhula erythaca), a bird species new to Assam was captured on his camera by Dr Amar Jyoti Saikia in Bherjan area of Bherjan-Borajan-Padumoni Wildlife sanctuary. Earlier, the bird was known as �Beavan�s Bullfinch�. It belongs to the Order: Passeriformis Family: Fringillidae and subfamily : Caraduelinae. Salim Ali and S Dillon Ripley have described the bird in �Handbook of the birds of India and Pakistan� (Vol 10; p.199). This bird has a very limited geographical distribution within India, Bhutan, Myanmar, China, Taiwan and Thailand. The population size of the bird has not been quantified. Earlier records show that in India the bird is sometimes seen in Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh. Conservation status is of �least concern�. The bird is a resident of the Eastern Himalayas. The male has grey crown and nape and orange-red under- parts while the female has grey crown and nape and brown montle. The length of the bird is approximately 17 cm.
As informed by the Asstt. Coordinator of �Aaranyak� Eastern Assam Zone, Sailendra Mohan Das, the grey headed bullfinch is a high altitude bird normally residing between 2500m-3800m above the mean sea level. It prefers to reside in the mixed forest and willow thickets. In winter this bird comes down to a little lower elevation between zoom to 3200 m. Previous records show that the bird may come down upto 1700 m in severe winter. But, finding such a bird in the thick forests of �Bherjan� under Tinsukia Wildlife Division is really surprising, Das said adding that the bird has been sighted for the first time in Assam. No doubt, this new record will bring new hope in the ornithological work in Assam and the sighting of this beautiful bird will definitely attract bird lovers towards this area.